Harrison died after several weeks of last-ditch treatments in New York and Los Angeles for inoperable brain cancer.
“He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends,” a statement issued by his family read.
News of Harrison’s death saddened fans the world over, eliciting statements from Queen Elizabeth, President Bush, and Prime Minister Blair, as well as friends and fellow Beatles.
“I am devastated and very, very sad. We knew he’d been ill for a long time,” Band-mate Sir Paul McCartney, said. “He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother.”
Yoko Ono, widow of late Beatle John Lennon, echoed those thoughts.
“We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter,” she said. “George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom.”
The musical pioneers had number one songs 27 times in the U.K. and the U.S during their career. A compilation of their number one hits soared to the top of the charts last year.
While Lennon and McCartney penned the majority of the Beatles’ songs, Harrison contributed such classics as “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.” Other hits Harrison penned include, “I Need You”; “If I Needed Someone”; “Taxman”; “Within You, Without You”; and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
But Harrison’s guitar work, influenced by greats Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins, was his most integral contribution to the band’s success. He also infused the music with an Eastern influence, introducing the sitar into songs such as the 1965 hit “Norwegian Wood.”
Following the Beatles’ 1970 breakup, Harrison struck out on his own, launching a solo musical career with his most acclaimed work, the triple album “All Things Must Pass.”
Moved by news of starvation and devastation, he organized the benefit concert for Bangladesh in New York; produced films, including Monty Python’s Life of Brian; and pursued musical projects with old friends, including Bob Dylan and the late Roy Orbison.
Harrison’s family life was calm in comparison to his fellow Beatles’. In January 1966, he married model Patti Boyd, who appeared in the film A Hard Day’s Night. The couple divorced in 1977, and Harrison went on to marry Olivia Arias in 1978, a month after their son Dhani was born.
Upon news of his death, mourners gathered outside the Abbey Road recording studios in northwest London, where the Beatles recorded the majority of their tracks, to pay tribute to “the quiet Beatle”.
In New York, music-lovers created a shrine of flowers and candles at Strawberry Fields in New York’s Central Park, created in memory of the late John Lennon who was shot to death by a crazed fan in 1980.
Fans also paid their respects by bringing armfuls of roses and lilies to Harrison’s home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Included among the offerings was a note that read, “The world will never be the same.”